Meeting Notes: March

We had about twenty people at our meeting last night, with a couple of new visitors.  I don’t think anyone was disappointed with all that we managed to cover in a couple of hours.

  • Michael Kluckner gave a detailed and excellent illustrated talk that led us through the history of heritage legislation and regulation in Vancouver, starting with the first Heritage By-law (which has its 40th anniversary this year), which was a result of the controversial Birks Building demolition. He then segued into a review of the various housing styles that we can find in Grandview, focusing on the change from a front porch-based culture to one that prefers more privacy in backyards and courtyards.
  • Michael’s talk was by way of a primer for our 2014 Centenary House signs project walk on Sunday.  We will meet at the Britannia library at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday 23rd March.  We will cover the area west and south of Britannia.  Everyone is welcome to join us.
  • We noted that Stephanie Chang, the UBC Historical Geography (GEOG 429) student who has been wortking with us, will present her paper next Tuesday.  Michael and Jak are planning to go.
  • We discussed the situation regarding Brookhouse, 1872 Parker. The news does not seem good, and we may well lose this house to demolition very soon.
  • The meeting that several of us had with the Agnew family was described, and led to an interesting discussion about the value of family papers and photographs.
  • Jak and Bruce described the $25,000 New Horizons grant that has now been received and is to be managed by VCN.  The purpose of the project is to collect as many seniors’ stories as we can.  Interviews should begin in April.
  • Last, and certainly not least, Eric Phillips gave us a teaser about the new edition of his series, Heritage Mechanicals and Materials, that he will present at our meeting next month.  The subject is Glass.  He brought along a number of examples of stained glass and beveled plate, and then encouraged our attendance next month with some fascinating illustrations about the history of glass.

Another great meeting; I think we are really getting into our stride now.

Next Meeting: Thursday 3/20

The next meeting of the Grandview Heritage Group is this coming Thursday, 20th March, at 7:00pm at the Britannia Board Room.  The agenda at this point includes:

  • Report on our student intern’s work on Woodland Park area history
  • Michael Kluckner presentation:  “H is for Heritage”
  • Sunday’s walk (see below)
  • Update on 1872 Parker Street
  • Visit with the Agnew Family
  • Teaser for Eric on Glass

Michael’s presentation is a lead up to our 2014 Centenary Signs walk on Sunday.  We will be meeting outside the Britannia Library at 9:30am and we will be exploring the area west of Britannia to Clark and north to Venables.  Please join us on Sunday even if you can’t make Thursday’s meeting!

Centenary House Signs Campaign 2014

After some preliminary work, we are now ready to put together the list of buildings that we will celebrate with centenary signs this year.

We have picked out some spots that we really want to include this time out, but we need to find more possibilities.  The rule is that the building must be at least 100 years old and not changed too much from its original design.  As usual, we will begin the process with a walk (or walks) that often turns into a vibrant educational tour for those who join us.

The first walk this year will begin at 9:30am on Sunday 23rd March and we will gather in the square outside the Britannia Library entrance.  We will be walking through the area west to Clark and probably north to Venables, in an area where many of our earliest builders plied their trade. The walk will be completed by noon and is open to anyone who cares to join us.

Our house styles expert, Michael Kluckner, will be with us to point out interesting architectural details, and no doubt one or more of our historians will be able to supply more details on the history of the area and the builders.

In advance of the walk, at our regular monthly meeting on Thursday 20th March, Michael will give a presentation of a primer he calls “H is for Heritage”.  More details on the meeting will be available next week.

January Meeting Notice

After our break for Christmas, the Grandview Heritage Group is back with regular monthly meetings.  The next one is on Thursday 16th January at 7:00pm in the Boardroom of the Britannia Info Centre.  We have a fascinating agenda planned that includes:

  • We will be privilileged to have with us Vancouver City Councilor Heather Deal who will discuss with us the recently approved Heritage Action Plan, and with whom we will discuss a number of heritage buildings under threat in Grandview.
  • We will also have the latest episode in Eric Phillip’s valuable series on the Mechanics and Materials of Heritage Houses.  This month, Eric will give a presentation on heritage heating systems.
  • We will introduce Stephanie Chang, a student at UBC Geography 429, who will be working with us on a mapping and social project over the next couple of months.
  • We will also be joined by Kristen Moran who plans to expand her short-form video on heritage issues in Grandview.
  • Finally, we will be moving ahead on planning for the 2014 version of our Centenary Houses project.

We look forward to seeing many of you on Thursday!

Meeting Notes: October

Excellent meeting last night with a number of new people in attendance, including two from Mount Pleasant who have been inspired to start a heritage group in their neighbourhood — that’s what we want to see all over the City!  There were a number of interesting items on the agenda:

  • We started with an announcement of a heritage/history walk:  Maurice Guibord will be conducting a tour of the area west of Commercial Drive on Saturday 9th November.  Meet at Mosaic Park (Charles & McLean) at 10:00am sharp.  Suggested donation is $10.  Maurice — an excellent and experienced tour leader — has found some fascinating material from that area and the tour is bound to be of interest.
  • The wonderful Brookhouse at 1872 Parker seems doomed.  Subject to a few conditions, the City has informed the owner — Ernie Ho of FuHo Design — that his permit to demolish and rebuild will be issued in early November. They have completely disregarded the letters sent from GHG and GWAC. Only direct pressure on the owner can save it now.
  • As a corollary to the 1872 Parker disaster, it was suggested that both GHG and GWAC write to City Council regarding the Heritage Revitalization Agreement process that seems to be so arduous that it has scared more than one owner away from saving a valuable property.
  • We also discussed the issue of the Astorino’s building at Commercial & Venables which is part of the ongoing Community Plan (CP) issues.  It was confirmed that City Council amended the Jackson Report to allow the potential development of this site (along with the Kettle, Ace of Suedes and the City parking lot) to continue even during the CP process but with “significant reduction in proposed height).  We now await the developer’s proposal.  In the meanwhile, we want to push for a Statement of Significance on the building as a folk-cultural artifact (it was agreed the building itself was not of the highest class) and as a performance space (especially as Britannia is now using it as such).
  • The 2014 Centenary House signs campaign is now officially underway.  Penny and Maria will be organizing selection tours to create a list of potential houses.
  • We also discussed the “permanent plaque” program with reference to the fading that has been noticed on the Shelly’s Sign wall.  Lance will investigate the issue and report back to us.
  • Jak agreed to write a brief guide to adding material to our wiki. This will appear on this website in the next few days.
  • Bruce reported on the Ridge Bowling Pin which he has been trying to secure for the Grandview Lanes roof.  It has been purchased by Yusuf Wosk for $5,000 and is apparently stored in his backyard. Maybe we can still get it if he gets bored with it.
  • It was noted that there is an Opne House for the Trout Lake Masterplan on Saturday. Bruce Macdonald will be giving a heritage overview at the Community Centre that morning.
  • Finally, we thoroughly enjoyed part 4 of Eric’s marvelous series “Mechanicals and Materials“.  Tonight’s was about the Hazards of Old Houses.  He talked about the uses and problems with lead, asbestos, mercury, leaking underground storage tanks (apparently known as LUST to specialists), and other chemicals. Highly informative and entertaining as always.  Thanks Eric!

A fun and entertaining evening.

Meeting Notes: August 2013

We had another great meeting last Thursday evening.  We covered quite a lot of ground:

  • It was noted that the 1921 Census of Canada is now available for scholars. At the moment it is made available via Ancestry.ca and a subsription membership is required.  The current search engine dies not allow searches via addresses.
  • Bruce Macdonald reported further on the 12′ tall bowling pin model from the Ridge Bowling Lanes, and his desire to have it placed on the Grandview Lanes building at Commercial & 6th.  It has now been made available to him, for free, but work still needs to be done with City Hall to allow it to be displayed.  We are seeking its designation as a piece of art rather than a structure.  It was agreed that GHG will write a letter of support, and Jak will approach the BIA for similar support.
  • We looked carefully at the brochure of historical houses and sites put out by the Heritage Revitalization Advisory Commission of Ladysmith, BC and forwarded to us by Maria Hindmarch.  We were impressed by its content and style; and we discussed in general terms producing one or more of similar type for Commercial Drive and Grandview.  Michael Kluckner noted that he had created a map/brochure for one iof his latest walks, and had made it available on iPad etc.
  • Jak explained and displayed the GHG Wiki (see next post) and generally showed users could add information about their houses, for example.
  • We then discussed the idea of permanent ceramic signs for heritage houses in Grandview.  We are just about ready to move forward on this project and we debated on some detail the nature of content, the possibilty of placement, and the price we will charge. These final points need to be established finally at our next meeting.
  • Eric Philips discussed the short personal videos a vintage car club has curated, and he encouraged us to create something similar for our historical house sites on the website and the wiki.  This was unanimously endorsed, and Penny Street offered the use of a flip camera she has.
  • Eric also noted that he is working on fresh presentations for this Mechanics and Materials series. These include (a) the hazards of old houses; (b) glass; and (c) heating systems.  We are hoping that one of these will be ready for presentation at our September meeting.
  • Michael noted that we need to complete our final reports to the funding agencies for both the Shelly Sign painting project and the Street Party project.

Meeting Notes: June 20th

We had another well-attended and very productive meeting of the Grandview Heritage Group last night, dealing with a wide range of matters:

  • We reviewed the Heritage Fair and Car Free Day experiences.  It was agreed that we met a lot of people at those events, answered a lot of questions and, hopefully, enthused a few about our neighbourhood’s heritage.
  • We discussed the fact that one of our 2013 Centenary House signs has gone missing from outside one house.  A range of options was suggested, including marking each sign with which house it was attached to;
  • This led to a continuation of our discussions about offering more permanent ceramic plaques for the houses.  A sub-committee (Lance, Penny, Dorothy) was struck to examine the issues (cost, price, content, attachment strategies, etc) and it will report back to the next meeting.
  • Our big party at the Shelly’s Sign is this coming Sunday; Ann caught us up on the status of the organization and we spent some time finalising the details, filling volunteer slots, etc.
  • Michael Kluckner gave a fascinating presentation reviewing how some developers/home owners are using Heritage Revitalization Agreements to get around the restriction on laneway houses and infill in RT zones. His example was from Kitsilano but he noted that we have similar lot sizes and issues here in Grandview.  We have previously been keen on getting more Grandview houses onto the Vancouver Herirtage Register, but Michael showed how this could be quite damaging to the neighbourhood in the long run.
  • The group discussed some upcoming issues concerning the Grandview Woodland Community Plan:
    • The Historical Context Statement meeting at the WISE Hall on 24th June at 7:00pm
    • Questionnaire responses to the draft Community Plan deadline on 3rd July.
    • The GWAC Public Meeting on 8th July at 7:00pm
  • We had a good discussion about the Grandview Heritage wiki that we are developing.  This will become formally open on the weekend to allow the QR code on the Shelly’s plaque to be made available.  There will be a lot more info on this in the next few days –watch this space!
  • We also discussed the fact that someone — perhaps the Commercial Drive BIA — has had signs reading “The Drive” on street signs placed throughout Grandview.  It was agreed we will contact the BIA to find out how this came about.
  • Bruce discussed his plan to salvage the 12′ bowling pin from the Ridge Bowling Lanes and to place it on Grandview Lanes.  He has had preliminary discussions with the Ridge, with heritage staff at City, and with the Marino family who own GV Lanes. Bruce will keep us informed as to progress.

It’s A Birthday Party!

Please join us for a little party to celebrate this year’s century houses in Grandview Park on Saturday, May 4th, 1:30 pm.

 

We’ll be in the middle of the block on the south edge of the park, right across the street from one of this year’s signs (1636/1638 Charles). There will be a few very short speeches.  We’ll have a button-making machine, and you can colour and decorate your own Grandview Heritage Group button (or receive a pre-decorated one).  PLUS we’ll have a delicious Fratelli’s birthday cake!

 

It also happens to be the second birthday of the Grandview Heritage Group. It’s all free and fun. So … stop by and say hello!

 

April Meeting Notes

We had another full and fascinating meeting of the Group last night, welcoming a number of first-time visitors. We began with a series of celebrations and good news.

We have received confirmation that the Group has been selected for an Award of Merit for Heritage Advocacy in the 2013 City of Vancouver Heritage Awards. The award ceremony is at the Georgia Hotel on May 27.  We are very proud recipients.

That was good news, followed by the great news that we now have the funds to complete the revitalization of the Shelly’s 4X Sign at Victoria and William.  The sign has suffered badly in the elements since it was revealed last year when the stucco covering was removed during renovations prior to the opening of the Via Tevere Restaurant.

G016-3We have received a substantial contribution of $2,000 from the Via Tevere Restaurant, for which we are very grateful.  In addition we have received $1,500 from a North Hastings Community Grant which allows us to celebrate the sign and its neighbouring area in a proper way.  Once again we are extraordinarily grateful for their assistance.  We have also applied for additional grants to complete the work but, in the meanwhile, we will top up the budget from our own funds.

Michael Kluckner has already put up temporary protection on the sign and now we just need a stretch of five or six days good weather to dry out the wood and for artist Victoria Oginski to work her magic.  We are hoping to get this completed within a month or so.

Later, early in the summer, we will be having a big celebratory party for the sign and its position within the neighbourhood.  You can expect food and music, a scavenger hunt, history tours and a lot of fun!  As we firm up dates and details, we will post them here.

And the good news just rolled on.  We have now put up all 25 of this year’s Centenary Birthday Signs on a wide range of wonderful houses in Grandview that are at least one hundred years old.  We have established a page on this site where you can find a map of all the houses along with architectural and historical details.  If you happen to have more information about any of these houses, please send it in and we’ll update the map.

For the 2012 Signs campaign, we had a lovely birthday party, and we decided to do another one for the 2013 campaign.  This year’s party will be at 1:30pm on Saturday 4th May on Grandview Park opposite 1636 Charles Street.  More details to follow, but everyone is welcome to join us in this celebration of Grandview’s glorious heritage houses.

Michael Kluckner gave a presentation on some lessons we have learned from this year’s campaign.  As we were preparing the final list of 2013 houses, we were approached by the owner of a house on Woodland and we were delighted to give a sign as we had documentation that the original house had been built in 1907.  However, on viewing the property, Michael and others became suspicious about its actual date.

The 1907 building permit said it was a $750 cottage, in the middle of three other $750 cottages; but, this house was clearly bigger than its neighbour, and far too big for a $750 cottage of that age.  The 1910 and 1912 maps we looked at showed four square little cottages equidistant apart.  However, by the 1927 Fire Insurance map, this house was shown to have grown and moved a lot closer to its southern neighbour.  And aerial photos revealed that the roof had been significantly altered.

So, although there is a 1907 buildng permit, and even though the same owners had the property from 1908 to 1952, it seems certain that between 1912 and 1927 they demolished the original cottage and replaced it with a much larger house.  This goes to show that documentation isn’t everything!

The meeting continued in great style with the third in Eric Phillip’s marvelous Heritage House Mechanics and Materials series. This presentation — with excellent visuals and a lot of hard-won personal knowledge — was about the difference between traditional timber framing, balloon framing, and Western Platform framing. It was fascinating.  We will work on Eric to prepare this series for web access as soon as possible because it deserves a wider audience.

It was agreed that next month our presentation will be Michael Kluckner on house types/styles in Grandview.  That promises to be another fascinating lesson.